Oh what a day! Despite my bad mood I had slept reasonably well. I had my breakfast in the men‘s dressing room and was on the bike around 7am.
The first challenge was to survive the 10km of dirt road back to the E45. To my total surprise, nothing bad happened. The bike was shaking left and right because more spokes had collapsed in the rear wheel but it still drove.
After 50km, I reached the Arctic circle. From here on northbound the sun never disappears in summer fir 50days in a row.
A few kilometers laters, my rear tire went flat. Probably it was punctured by broken spokes from the inside.
So, here I was hitchhiking again with 51 – together with a humongous bike full of luggage. The first car stopped directly. It was an elder gentleman in a 2CV. It was really hilarious. We agreed that he could not help and he drove on.
The next car that stopped was a lady from Belgium, but also her car was too full.
A couple of minutes later, an old VW Bus stopped. Inside were Paul and Flo from Austria and South Tyrol. The even had a bike rack at the rear. We threw my baggage in the bus and I was sitting on top of the fridge.
They brought me to Jokkmokk and actually to the only store for sports gear in the wider area. The people there were super nice but did not have any spare parts for bikes. They pointed me to either Gällivare or Luleå.
So I went to the bus station. Here you can take your bike onto the bus – very cool concept. There was a bus at 13:00 to Gällivare and one at 17:30 to Luleå. So I took the first bus and met Roman, a Swiss world traveler without official registration in Switzerland. He is hiking around in different parts of the globe for five years now. At 45 years he retired, cut down all cost dramatically, and is roaming around since then. Also, he has no family and no life partner. That is a very high price to pay for ultimate freedom. We gossiped about light weight gear, travel projects and life in general.
When we arrived in Gällivare, it quickly became apparent that there is also no bike shop here. All hopeful hints are in fact pointing towards Luleå.
So, what now? With the broken bike I was somehow immobile. So I decided to rent a car which is big enough to transport my bike to Luleå and back to the Norwegian Atlantic Coast. This rental car would also become my transport vessel to Malmö.
I only had 40 min to get to the rental car station in the industrial estate from the city center with a fully loaded broken bike and 30 degrees.
The lady there was super helpful and probably also pitying me a bit. I have a nice Volvo station wagon now and moved into a quite luxurious cabin on the local camping ground. I have my own shower!
Tomorrow first thing, I will drive the 200km to Luleå and be on the doorsteps of the bike repair shop at 10am. On the phone the guy was confident that he has the needed parts. Let’s hope for the best.
Learning of the day: You only fail when you decide to give up.